Small Business Administration to open Shuttered Venue Operators Grants on April 8


Empty theater at the University at Albany. (Elijah Guerrero / UAlbany)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — On Thursday at noon a grant application portal will open for live venue, live performing arts organizations, museums, movie theaters and more across the country.

The Small Business Administration announced on Wednesday evening that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal will officially open on April 8 at 12 p.m. According to the SBA, this grant is specifically to provide economic relief to live entertainment businesses and organizations.

The SBA added that through the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, $16.2 billion has been made available for venues, theaters, museums, live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives.

Eligible business types as sited on the SBA website include the following:

  • Live venue operator
  • Promoter
  • Theatrical producer
  • Live performing arts organization operator
  • Motion picture theatre operator
  • Museum operator
  • Talent representatives.

“Concerts, plays, dance performances, movie premieres, museum exhibits – these are the lifeblood of culture and community, and often the anchor for travel, tourism and neighborhood food and retail stores,” stated SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We know that for the stage and venue operators across the nation that help make this culture happen, the pandemic has been devastating. Too many have been forced to lower the final curtain on their businesses.”

Of the $16.2 billion for grants, $2 billion is reserved for eligible Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may apply for grants equal to 45% of thir gross earned revenue, with a maximum amount of $10 million.

The Administration stated that it will accept Shuttered Venue Operators applications on a first-in, first-out basis and allocating applications to respective priority period as they are recived.

Specifically, the first 14-days of funding awards, will be for those entities that suffered a 90% or grater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second 14 days will include entities that suffered a 70% or greater loss between that same timeframe.

Following those two periods, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The Small Business Administration confirmed that the first award period is expected to begin in late April of 2021.

Full eligibility requirements for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants can be found on the SBA website.

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